Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCNC) selected Marisa Chiang, 37, and Terry Park, 37, to represent Team BCNC. BCNC received two charity bibs to participate in the 2017 Boston Marathon for the sixth year in a row.
This is both Chiang and Park’s first marathon. In 2004, Chiang moved to Boston from San Jose, Calif., and Beantown has been her home ever since. She loves the vibrant communities across Greater Boston, but Chinatown stands out as a community that reminds her of both the Bay Area where she grew up and her family. As a daughter of immigrants, she understands BCNC’s work is integral to the flourishing of Asian immigrant families.
“It’s an honor to run the Boston Marathon for such an amazing organization,” Chiang said.
Park is excited to fulfill his dream of running a marathon to support an organization he has long admired. As the child of Korean immigrants, one of whom is a limited English speaker, Park grew up with an awareness of the challenges that often prevent Asian immigrants from realizing their full potential in the United States. Before moving to the Boston area to teach Asian American studies at Wellesley College and now Harvard University, Park lived in Oakland, Calif, where he served as executive director of Hyphen Magazine, an Asian American arts, culture and politics magazine.
“I come from a family of runners. Many of whom have ran marathons,” he said. “So it feels good to be able to finally do the same.”
In 2009, Chiang started to run for a 10K she was doing with a friend. Soon, it became a passion of the refugee health worker at Massachusetts Department of Public Health, supporting community health workers and providing technical assistance to refugee and tuberculosis health programs across the country.
“Running has always been about myself. It’s been therapeutic and a personal challenge for myself,” she said. “So, it’s nice now to be running for a cause.”
She said given the current political climate, running for an organization like BCNC means even more to her.
“I am the daughter of immigrants and I know how important it is to have organizations like this to support immigrants,” she said.
Park agreed. “I wish my parents could have benefited from an organization like this, especially my mom,” he said.
Park is new to the Boston area and admits he doesn’t know that much about the Marathon. He once mistakenly referred to Heartbreak Hill as Murder Hill.
“I don’t know what to expect that day. Everything will be brand new to me,” he said.
However, both runners admit they are excited for the big day.
“It’s going to be an emotional day,” Chiang said. “I am sure I will be nervous but it should be a great day.”
“If I don’t die, I will call it a success,” Park joked.
The runners are joined by Chiang’s friend Kuangshin Tai, who is a Boston Athletic Association qualified runner. In honor of Team BCNC and his 40th birthday, Tai plans to high-five everyone he makes eye contact with on race day and hug each person who calls his name. Qualified runner Wayne Chan will also raise funds for BCNC and train with Chiang.
You can donate to the BCNC runners by clicking on either link.
This post is also available in: Chinese